The Wayward COMC Box, Part 3 – Senators And Expos

Continuing the story of a shipment from COMC which “went dark” for 10 days before appearing in my mailbox…

I have a thing for teams which no longer exist… You may be familiar with my “Dead Parrot” hockey card project, but I also have a decent collection of Seattle Pilots cards. Lately I’ve been pondering making Washington Senators cards an official low-priority goal.  I haven’t officially pulled the trigger but I have started to pick up cheap vintage Senators just because.

…Not that I really need an excuse to pick up inexpensive 1960s Post Cereal cards. This 1962 card mentions Billy Klaus having been taken from the Orioles in the 1960 AL expansion draft and his 91 games as a utility infielder, but he was sold to the Phillies just before the start of the 1962 season.

This 1963 Topps card features Senators reliever Pete Burnside, who was part of my 1959 Commons project which combined two loves of my life – common baseball cards and Statis Pro Baseball.  After the 1963 season Burnside would go to Japan and pitch two seasons for the Hanshin Tigers

Burnside wasn’t new to the Senators in 1963, so that thumbnail photo must’ve been an old one.  Based on the piping on the jersey, I’m guessing the photo is from 1959 or 1960 when Burnside was with the Tigers.

Pete wasn’t a stranger to airbrushing… His 1958 rookie card shows him with an airbrushed San Francisco Giants cap (as they’d just moved from New York) and his 1959 card shows the same photo with an airbrushed Detroit Tigers logo.

These next two Senators are technically part of my slow, slow 1970 Topps build, but I love them because they’re Senators.

1970 saw Jim Hannan in his 9th year with the Senators;  after the season he’d be sent to Detroit in a trade that also involved Denny McLain, Elliott Maddox, Aurelio Rodriguez, Ed Brinkman and Joe Coleman.

Ed Stroud was the Senators’ center fielder but would be traded to the White Sox for Tommy McCraw the following spring.

I semi-collect Eddie Yost but hadn’t realized that he had a nice-looking “Flashback” insert in 2007 Heritage.  I’d originally started collecting Yost because he was a Mets coach when I was a kid, but I’ve come to appreciate his playing days when he lead the league in walks six times and on-base percentage twice.

I started following baseball in 1974, two years after the Senators became the Rangers and five years after the Pilots became the Brewers.  When I was a kid and ran across cards of the Senators and Pilots I was intrigued because here were these somewhat recent cards that were of teams I’d never seen play.  It made me think today that, had things gone differently in 1973 and another relocation hadn’t fallen through, I’d be here telling you about how I love Padres cards because they’d moved to Washington just before I became baseball-aware.

The Pirates and Dodgers had given up on Bob Bailey in 1968, and he went unclaimed by the Padres and Expos in that October’s expansion draft… but then the Dodgers sold his contract to the Expos a week later.  It took a little time but he ended up being one of the better hitters on those early Expos teams.  As a kid I always confused Bob Bailey with teammate Ron Fairly.

Ellis Valentine had a dozen Major League games under his belt when this 1976 SSPC card was issued, but he’d play in the All-Star game and win a Gold Glove within the next few seasons.  Dude had a cannon for an arm.

1981 Donruss was my third-favorite set of 1981… Well, maybe 4th if you count the oversized Topps Home Team Photos (aka “Super”) cards… But 1981 was still a very exciting year after – for me – seven years of nothing but Topps.  Bill Lee was on the downside of his career, but The Spaceman was still fun.

Goal-wise, 1981 Donruss is in limbo. It’s a set from my teen years and I’ve got about 450 of the 605 cards, but a voice in my head says “It’s got a lot of crappy cards… and you’ve already got two complete 1981 sets, do you really need a third?”  I’ve thought about cutting bait on 81D, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it.  In the meantime, I buy the occasional card that I would get even if I did pull the plug on this set.

OK, that’s it for this batch of cards… but I still have another post or two coming out of this COMC box.


4 thoughts on “The Wayward COMC Box, Part 3 – Senators And Expos

  1. The mid 70s could have seen the West Coast go from having Oakland, SF, SD, California, and LA to just OAK, CAL, and LA..
    SD go to Washington and SF brought to Toronto. Before a local buyer was found for the Giants, they were almost sold to a group that would have moved them to Toronto. Most of the group were involved in the Jays expansion team..

  2. I’m also keeping more of an eye out for Senators cards these days. Just another reason to dig through cheap vintage bins at shows.

  3. I look for Pilots, Expos & 2nd edition of the Senators cards. Also try look for Colt .45 cards before changing name to Astros, some Topps cards from the 60’s just have Houston on the card for that year. Also looking for Indians cards before name change.

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